Learn To Sail

PDSC Sailing Structure

Little Pirates

$5 per session including membership

*All current members are covered by Austrlalian Sailing's sailor insurance while participating in club activities.

Little Pirates has been established as a familiarisation program for potential sailors under 7 years old. This is a fun play based program aims to familiarise children with being in the space of a sailing dinghy, some basic terminology. Parents must remain with their child for these sessions to provide their child with a sense of safety and security. Parents may even learn a thing or two also! Aaaargh.

Big Pirates

$100 including annual PDSC membership ( $50 membership and $50 tuition fees for 10 sessions paid in advance

*All current members are covered by Austrlalian Sailing's sailor insurance while participating in club activities.

Big Pirates have successfully completed the Little Pirate program or perhaps are too old to be a Little Pirate. Big Pirates will participate in a fun, play based program that extends their familiarisation program, taking bigger safety steps towards taking the tiller for the first time.

Green Fleet (beginners)

$100 annual junior membership (permits use of club facilities and assets such as sailing cube boats and life jackets)

*All current members are covered by Austrlalian Sailing's sailor insurance while participating in club activities.

The term Green means inexperienced. Our Green Fleeters will learn the 'abc' of sailing such as push and pull turns (tacking/gybing), man overboard drills, caring for their boat and other sailors, how and what to prepare for sailing, where to position their bodies in the boat. These skills will be conducted in a fun and safe environment. Parents are encouraged to assist their children get their boats and themselves ready for their sailing session as well as assist with retrieving thei child and boat when the class is finished. They wil be so excited and will have much to tell you!

Opti Fleet (7-14 years)

Juniors $100 per year membership/$15 per session - includes use of club optimists and equipment if necessary as well as Australian Sailing membership and insurance.

Opti Fleeters will move from a sailing cube (plastic learn to sail vessel) to an optimist (fibreglass) sailing vessel. These vessels are a one design vessel and are very popular on the international junior learn to sail and racing scene.

Children can sail in these vessels until they are 14 years old or get too heavy to be competitive.

Throughout their journey in he optimist fleet, sailors will 'grow up' from their pirate days and start to become more competitive. Learning how the better position their bodies for maximum speed, sail tuning, race rules and tactics, wind detection, tides and currents. We encourage opti sailors to attend club racing days to practise what they have learned on their training days and then of course there is Sail Bowen in November which is our annual regatta. Check with the coach as to which fleet your child should enter at different regatttas.

The Australian International Optimist Dinghy Association (AIODA) provide state and national titles each year in differing locations throughout Queensland and Australia.

Laser Fleet

Juniors $100 per year membership/$15 per session

Seniors $150 per year membership/$15 per session

Assuming that these teenagers/adults have weighted or aged out of optimists, lasers are encouraged as the next step. Single handed and with only one sail and differing sized rigs, sailors will use the skills they have acquired during their optimist years and apply them to sailing the Olympic class Lasers. The Australian Laser Association hosts state and national titles each year in differing locations throughout Queensland and Australia.

Windsurfing Fleet

Juniors $100 per year membership/$15 per session

Seniors $150 per year membership/$15 per session

LT windsurfers are one of Australia's fastest growing fleets. A resurgence following the populararity of the fleet in the 1980's with the new fibreglass version has seen this sport increase in participation at a fast rate. 

Juniors popping out of optimitsts that are not yet physically big enough for lasers may wish to jump on a windsurfer as a transition vessel or as their vessel of choice. Club racing is an option for windsurfers at PDSC and training sessions are usually planned privately.

The Windsurfer Class Association Australia provides opportunities in differing locations in Queensland and Australia as well as various international opportunities via the world titles.


A mentoring program is currently being developed. Those interested in assisting with the Pirate and Green Fleets will need their Assistant Coasch certificate as well as their First Aid and Boat Handlers certification. There are other roles to fill to ensure our clubs longevity such as race officers, race scorers, coaches, senior coaches.


'It takes a village to raise a child' - Well, that is certainly the case at PDSC. We like to think of our club as a family fun and friendly environment. Some siblings have become ace as our canteen assistants and cash handlers, others have been great helpers at getting equipment ready or being fantastic reef guardians by collecting rubbish off the beach. 

Of course, we really need the parents of our juniors to chip in. There are not enough hands to teach kids how to learn to sail safely without the help of parents. You do not need to know how to sail to assist your child and quite  a lot of non-sailing parents have actually taken up the sport after seeing their kids have heaps of fun!

Our committeee is always looking for various skillsets to help with administrative tasks and of course you will be provided with as much or as little training as you feel required for your role. Enquire today to get involved.

We will need volunteers to apply for a working with children bluecardThis reassures all families that their children are in safe hands and is of course a club requirement. 

Coach Boat

As a general rule, children not sailing will not be allowed in the coach boat. Having children in the coach boat is an unsafe practice for those in the coach boat and for the sailors on the water:

  • The coach’s attention is distracted from sailing due to managing those onboard.
  • The coach’s vision is restricted.
  • The coach boat is difficult to maneuver (due to the extra load).
  • The boat becomes unbalanced and poorly trimmed.
  • It is difficult to place and shift buoys with passengers onboard.

However, at the coach’s discretion, sailors may be allowed in the coach boat due to injury, boat breakages, weather requirements, etc.  There may also be occasional times when 1 child may go in the coach boat if they are new to sailing and would like to see what happens in a training session. Again, this will be at the coach’s discretion and will depend on the conditions on the day.

It will be at the coach’s discretion to allow a parent in the coach boat.  Generally, having a parent in the coach boat diminishes the learning in a session as it changes the behaviour of the parent’s children, other children and also affects the coach’s behaviour.

When we are holding races and using the start boat, there may be an opportunity for a few children to watch from the start boat. Again, this will depend on the circumstances on the day (e.g. volunteer driving the boat, number of children, weather). Spectators in their own boats are encouraged to watch the racing from the water.


Key characteristics to be encouraged within the sailors:

  • Punctuality – be on time for lessons, debriefs, racing
  • Respect – for all people, equipment and the club
  • Teamwork – help others, try your hardest
  • Sportmanship – accept your efforts
  • Humility – be quietly proud of your achievements

It is important for parents to support the coach by reinforcing their key message/s without additions or contradictions.  If a sailor’s behaviour on-water is unsafe either to themselves or other participants they will receive a warning.  If they continue with unsafe behaviour they will be sent to shore immediately. 

Club Boats

PDSC boats are available for use during training and racing sessions. Members can charter club boats for racing and regattas for a fee, however, it is recommended that you provide your own sail so as to remain competitive.

Personally owned boats

A yearly storage fee is charged for sailors storing their personally owned boats at the PDSC.

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